In the Keg of Nails rivalry, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater helped lead the Louisville Cardinals (8-0) to a hard fought 34-31 overtime victory over the Cincinnati Bearcats (5-2) on Friday to stay undefeated.
Bridgewater (6-3, 218) is the catalyst for the Louisville offense with a 70.7 completion percent for the season. He started off slow with his team behind 17-14 at the half against Cincinnati, but ended with an impressive 416 passing yards for the game.
The Louisville QB plays smart football and uses his checks downs often; he throws a good spiral along with it as well as great timing with his receivers on the long ball. Amazingly, Bridgewater is only a true sophomore.
Cardinals wide receiver Devante Parker (6-3, 204) was named player of the game with 120 yards and two touchdowns, both in the fourth quarter. Parker showed he can run after the catch and haul in the deep ball.
For Cincinnati quarterback Munchie Legaux, he was the reason for most of the Bearcats' big plays, but also mostly the reason for the bad ones. Legaux had three interceptions and only completed 13 of 28 passes. He floats the ball too often and lacks zip on throws, but he is a talented runner.
This season, Louisville has had five of their eight games decided by seven points or less. Friday's game ended with touchdown passes late in the fourth quarter by both teams' quarterbacks to send the game into overtime.
In overtime, Legaux threw a bad pass that was intercepted by cornerback Terell Floyd in the end zone and Louisville made a field goal after a botched snap that did not count since Cincinnati coach Butch Jones called a timeout. Once again, the Cardinals had a game go down to the wire.
Louisville coach Charlie Strong said, "You win a football game and you know you can still improve and this football team knows it... We’re 8-0, but still we can go play so much better. We have yet to put together a 60 minute game. When is that going to happen? We need that to happen."
The most unfortunate occurrence in the game for Louisville was to team sack leader DE Lorenzo Mauldin (6-4, 240), who left the second quarter with a knee injury. As of now, his status is not known.
The toughest game left for Louisville is when they play at BCS No. 15 Rutgers on November 29. The Cardinals are solid all around, but lack the domination of many undefeated teams. If the close games continue, it looks like they will lose sooner or later. But with Bridgewater at quarterback and a hoard of underclassmen, they have further development ahead and a very bright future.
Louisville Schedule 2012
Sun. Sept 2, vs Kentucky W 32-14
Sat. Sept 8, vs Missouri State W 35-7
Sat. Sept 15, vs North Carolina W 39-34
Sat. Sept 22, at FIU W 28-21
Sat. Sept 29, at Southern Miss W 21-17
Sat. Oct 13, at Pittsburgh W 45-35
Sat. Oct 20, vs South Florida W 27-25
Fri. Oct 26, vs Cincinnati W 34-31
Sat. Nov 3, vs Temple
Sat. Nov 10, at Syracuse
Sat. Nov 24, vs Connecticut
Thu. Nov 29, at Rutgers
Alabama was the only SEC team to defeat a top 25 opponent in week one despite the perception of the conference being the most dominant in college football. However, the SEC did have one of the most challenging schedules slated in the opening week and they scored the second most points per game among FBS conferences.
The ACC, Big 12, Big East, and Pac 12 did not play any top 25 out of conference opponents in week one. The ACC had the most games against non-FBS teams. The SEC, Conference USA, MAC, and Mountain West tied for the most matches versus the top 25 at three games.
The Big 12 was the only conference to go undefeated in week one, but played rather weak opposition with no BCS opponents and four non-FBS cupcakes. The Oklahoma Sooners also had a close call even though they were a heavy favorite going in versus the UTEP Miners.
The Mid-American Conference had a tough week with only 18.64 points per game and 31.73 points allowed per game. Ohio was the lone MAC team to have any real success with the only out of conference FBS win for them (24-14 over Penn State). The Bobcats are one of the only few teams left in contention from the preseason BCS Busters Watch List
after week one, but they have a weak schedule ahead so there will have to be a lot of losses racked up by BCS teams and they would have to win out convincingly.
FBS teams that lost to FCS or non-FBS teams were Pittsburgh, Memphis, Middle Tennessee, and Idaho.
See how each conference ranks after week one from an out of conference perspective:
Out of Conference Records
Big 12 9-0, vs Top 25: 0-0 , vs BCS: 0-0 , vs FBS: 5-0 , vs non-FBS: 4-0
ACC 7-1, vs Top 25: 0-0, vs BCS: 1-1, vs FBS: 2-1, vs non-FBS: 5-0
Big Ten 10-2 vs Top 25: 1-1 , vs BCS: 1-1 , vs FBS: 7-2, vs non-FBS: 3-0
SEC 9-2 vs Top 25: 1-2 , vs BCS: 2-2 , vs FBS: 5-2 , vs non-FBS: 4-0
Pac 12 8-3 vs Top 25: 0-0 , vs BCS: 0-0 , vs FBS: 6-3 , vs non-FBS: 2-0
Big East 5-2, vs Top 25: 0-0 , vs BCS: 1-1 , vs FBS: 3-1 , vs non-FBS: 2-1
WAC 4-2 vs Top 25: 0-1 , vs BCS: 0-1 , vs FBS: 2-1 , vs non-FBS: 2-1
Mountain West 5-5, vs Top 25: 0-3 , vs BCS 2-5: , vs FBS: 2-5 , vs non-FBS: 3-0
Sun Belt 4-5 vs Top 25: 0-2 , vs BCS: 0-3 , vs FBS: 1-4 , vs non-FBS: 3-1
MAC 3-8, vs Top 25: 0-3 , vs BCS: 1-7 , vs FBS: 1-8 , vs non-FBS: 2-0
Conference USA 2-10, vs Top 25: 0-3, vs BCS: 0-7, vs FBS, 1-9, vs non-FBS 1-1
Points Per Game
Big 12 48.56
Pac 12 33.73
Big East 32.29
Big Ten 30.17
Sun Belt 29
Mountain West 28.4
Conference USA 24.5
Points Allowed Per Game
Big 12 17.11
Big East 17.43
Pac 12 18.45
Big Ten 20.33
Sun Belt 27.33
Conference USA 35.67
*Conference games are not included in statistics.
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Florida State (10-3) 12.22
NC State (7-5) 9.35
Clemson (4-8) 8.3
Maryland (5-7) 7.616
Boston College (4-8) 7.014
Wake Forest (2-10) -3.97
Virginia Tech (13-0) 15.86
North Carolina (11-1)15.63
Miami (8-4) 12.38 *does not include recent suspension of players.
Georgia Tech (8-4) 8.56
Duke (4-8) 5.324
Virginia (1-11) -.917
Virginia Tech is projected to win the ACC by beating Florida State in a close game. North Carolina has a high Momentum score and a projected record of 11-1, but the firing of Butch Davis may have a strong effect which is not calculated in the score.
Nebraska (9-3) 16.15
Michigan State (9-3) 15.5
Iowa (11-2) 14.33
Northwestern (8-4) 10.647
Michigan (9-3) 3.514
Minnesota (2-10) -.134
Ohio State (12-1) 14.975
Wisconsin (10-2) 14.22
Penn State (8-4) 13.125
Illinois (8-4) 8.423
Indiana (3-9) .0095
Purdue (2-10) -1
The Momentum rankings show that Ohio State should still have another good season despite losing head coach Jim Tressel and quarterback Terrelle Pryor, but Iowa is projected to beat them in the Big Ten championship game.
Pitt (9-3) 13.656
Uconn (9-3) 10.643
West Virginia (11-1) 10.559
Cincinnati (11-1) 10.537
South Florida (6-6) 7.766
Syracuse (3-9) 3.35
Rutgers (3-9) 2.722
Louisville (3-9) .317
The Big East is projected to be a three way tie between Pitt, West Virginia, and Cincinnati. Two of Pitt’s losses are to out of conference teams and they are more likely to finish lower in the BCS standings than West Virginia or Cincinnati since they are projected with more losses.
Stanford (11-1) 21.885
Oregon (13-0) 21.093
Washington (3-9) 4.943
Oregon State (4-8) 4.146
Washington State (1-11) -6.102
Utah (12-1) 16.7
USC (9-3) 12.033
Arizona (7-5) 10.091
Arizona State (6-6) 5.712
Colorado (2-11) 1.887
UCLA (3-9) 1.817
Utah’s score may be off since they just switched conferences, but we will see. Either way Utah should have a chance at winning the Pac-12 South. Oregon is scored to win the Pac-12 championship despite Stanford having a higher Momentum score and playing Oregon at home during the season, but Oregon is a good road team and Stanford has not established a strong enough home field advantage over the last five season so the Ducks are very tightly projected to beat the Cardinal.
TCU (11-1) 20.933
Boise State (12-0) 19.5
UCF (13-0) 15.04
Temple (13-0) 14.451
Notre Dame (7-5) 11.056
BYU (8-4/7-5) 9.067
Boise State and TCU should dominate the Mountain West. Since the game between the Broncos and Horned Frogs is going to be on the blue turf, Boise State is projected to beat TCU in a tight one.
UCF and Temple are a couple of surprise non-BCS teams. A few of Temple’s wins are very close. Penn State and Maryland are a couple of teams that Temple is scored to beat which may not be too unrealistic since the Owls only lost to the Nittany Lions 22-13 last season and they beat a BCS team in Uconn. The defensive trend of Temple is another factor that helps their Momentum score. UCF is trending in the right direction in terms of wins and points allowed as well as bringing in another good recruiting class. The Knights have a schedule that could lead them to double digit wins again if not the projected 13.
Notre Dame’s score and projected record shows another year of transition for Brian Kelly’s Fighting Irish. Sometimes people criticize the strength of Notre Dame’s schedule, but it is stouter than critics claim. This season they are scheduled to play three Big Ten, three ACC, two Pac-12, two Big East, one MWC, and one independent team with three teams ranked in the top 25.
The Momentum Rankings show that BYU should be either 8-4 or 7-5. Their game against Ole Miss is too close to call. Their first season as an independent should be good, but not great. They still need to gain more momentum to beat their rival Utah in the Holy War.
*Conference Championships are included in projections.
*Games against FCS teams were not projected. However, teams were given a win for FCS games to show a better depiction of the projected season record, but this does not help in accuracy since FCS teams do win some games.
*Bowl games are not projected.
The Big East is more like the Big Yeast, because it just seems to lag behind the other BCS conferences in fermentation especially the fine wine of the SEC. The addition of TCU will help the conference greatly since they are in need of recognition. They lack big out of conference wins and only have one team projected to be ranked in the preseason top 25.
Over the last five years in BCS out of conference games including Utah and Notre Dame (non-bowl games), the Big East is 36-40 (47 percent) compared to SEC which is nine percentage points better at 40-32 (56 percent). Even if you subtracted each conferences worst team versus out of conference BCS teams, the SEC is still much better. The Big East OOC BCS record without Syracuse is 34-32 (52 percent) which is still 10 percentage points less than the SEC’s 39-24 (62 percent) without Vanderbilt.
On the other hand, the Big East and SEC are very close in percentage points in bowl games over the last five years with the SEC’s record at 31-15 (67 percent) and Big East at 19-9 (68 percent). Despite the bowl wins, they lack consistent dominate teams nationally and in conference. Louisville and Cincinnati had winning streaks, but coaching changes led to a downward winning trend. West Virginia is the only Big East team projected this season to be in the preseason AP top 25.
TCU’s addition in 2012 will definitely help the Big Yeast ferment. Over the last five seasons, TCU is 4-1 in bowl games and 9-2 in OOC BCS games (Utah not included due to being an in conference game). That would bring the Big East OOC BCS record to 45-42 (52 percent) and bowl record to 23-10 (70 percent) over the last five seasons. TCU also finished second last season in the AP Top 25 and USA Today Poll.
However until the Horned Frogs arrive, they are still the Big Yeast conference for another season. Fine wine takes time. Link to "TCU to join Big East Conference" on ESPN.com: http://sports.espn.go.com/dallas/ncf/news/story?id=5862368
Nothing to surprising about my picks, but I may change some before the season starts.These are my BCS conference champion predictions:
ACC: Florida State
Contenders: Florida State is almost everyone's preseason favorite for ACC champion, but Virginia Tech is the frontrunner to win the Coastal division and the conference overall this year should be solid.
Big East: West Virginia
Contenders: Pitt may be the next contender, but overall the conference looks bland coming into this season and West Virginia seems to be the only strong team in the conference.
Big 12: Oklahoma
Contenders: The Sooners are the clear favorite, but the Big 12 does have other contenders for the 2011 championship including Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, and longshot Missouri.
Big 10: Wisconsin
Contenders: It looks as though Ohio State should finally have a down year so that leaves the field wide open. Nebraska may be the next favorite to win championship after Wisconsin and they should win the Legends division, but plenty others have a chance including Michigan State and Michigan.
Pac 12: Oregon
Contenders: With Andrew Luck returning, it makes Stanford a contender, but it will be difficult for them to duplicate last season with all of their other key losses. If USC was not under a ban, then they could possibly win the championship. The Trojans may end up with one of the better records in the Pac 12. Oregon has a wealth of talent and should win another championship this year, but off the field issues are now looming over the program that may have an effect.
SEC: Arkansas/ Alabama
Contenders: I listed two champions for this conference since I am somewhat bias on this selection since I'm a known Hog fan. I do believe the Razorbacks can win the SEC this season, but Alabama is the clear favorite among most others. However, the SEC is stacked with competition with the West having other stout contenders in LSU and Mississippi State as well as in the East division there are contenders in South Carolina, Georgia, and maybe Florida under new coach Will Muschamp.